Not long ago, illegally downloading a movie could land you in court facing millions of dollars in fines and jailtime. But Hollywood has begun to weather the storm by offering alternatives to piracy — same day digital releases, better streaming, higher quality in-theater experiences — that help meet some of the consumer demand that piracy captured.
But the porn industry is not Hollywood.
While the web has created incredible new economic opportunities for adult entertainers — independent production has flourished, as well as new types of production, which we won’t go into here simply to preserve our G-rating — few other industries on the web face the glut of competition from services that offer similar content for free or in violation of copyright.
Simply put, there’s so much free porn on the net that honest pornographers can’t keep up.
It’s hard to get accurate numbers on how much revenue is generated from online porn. It’s believed to be in the billions, at least in the United States. But it’s even more difficult to get a picture of how much revenue is lost in the adult entertainment industry due to copyright violation.
Surprisingly though, the porn industry doesn’t seem that interested in pursuing copyright violators. Intellectual property scholar Kate Darling studied how the industry was responding to piracy, and it turned out that — by and large — adult entertainment creators ran the numbers and found that it simply cost more from them to fight copyright violators than it was worth.
For today’s episode, Berkman alum and journalist Leora Kornfeld sat down with Kate Darling to talk to her about how porn producers are losing the copyright battle, and why many don’t care.